October 24, 2017

Slowdive Capture Vancouver Crowds Animation at Commodore Ballroom

slowdive conor graham nightmair creative

English Shoegazer’s Slowdive came to The Commodore Ballroom this week to give fans a taste of their new album. The self-titled project, released on May 5th of this year, is their first in 22 years -though don’t call them rusty!  Slowdive gave a powerful performance, captivating the Vancouver crowd.

Indie garage rockers Cherry Glazerr opened the show with a raucous set. Promoting their own new record, ‘Apocalipstick’, the LA-based band put in a performance filled with positive vibes and wild banshee screams.

The band ripped through songs like ‘Told You I’d be With the Guys’ and ‘Nurse Ratchet,’ turning the concert into a real rock show. Their performance was marked by soft, almost sweet intros that would eventually evolve into intense breakdowns, like in the song, ‘Nuclear Bomb.’

All in all Cherry Glazerr put in a wild performance and got the crowd energized for Slowdive.

Taking the stage and immediately diving into their first song, ‘Slomo’ off of their new album, Slowdive set the tone of the show with this eight-minute dreamy, sad dance-pop track.

Throughout most of their set, Slowdive kept close to this territory. Their performance was filled with beautiful, shimmering guitar playing and layered, ornate vocals. They filled the room with ambient noise on ‘Crazy For Love’ and left a desperate feeling on stage with ‘Avalyn’.

But not all of their songs were slow and sad, on the song ‘Star Rover’ the band brought up the tempo and the mood in the room which was a nice change of pace for their performance. ‘Star Rover’ was also filled with soaring guitar riffs and soft, harmonious vocals, which complemented each other well.

All of their songs were very dreamy, introspective and very instrumental. During any given song the band would go on a five or six-minute excursion into a slightly psychedelic sounding interlude. The whole band would be jamming along with such a relaxed stage presence. They look like they were all drifting off into a calm body of water as they performed. And the dreaminess was contagious, if you let yourself float along to the progression of the music you could feel like you, yourself were melting away.

One of the standouts among the band members was bass player Nick Chaplin. During the show, Chaplin’s bass line was always very steady and strong and often the instrument that would hook you into the song. Despite being very introspective, it’s the dynamic between their instruments like Chaplin’s bass and Neil Halstead’s guitar that keeps their performance fun enough to start dancing to.

Later in the show, some members of the crowd started calling out requests for the band to play their song ‘Alison, ’ and as if they had planned to play the song at that moment all along, the band took a couple of seconds and then jumped right into it. After which the band played their single, ‘Sugar for the Pill’. And if the crowd was just enjoying Slowdive’s performance before then, this is where they captured the audience’s imagination. The catchy choruses mixed in with atmospheric verses was too much for the audience. At this point in the show, a couple of lighters began to rise into the air in the crowd.

To close out the show, before the encore, Slowdive plays a cover of Syd Barrett’s ‘Golden Hair’ which is when they jump headlong into psychedelic rock, to the great appreciation of the crowd.

For their encore, the band plays three songs. And at this point, there is nothing but love in The Commodore Ballroom for Slowdive. After every song, the crowd is cheering louder and louder until they finish out the show with ’40 Days’ and bid Vancouver goodnight.

written by Conor Graham -photos and video by Conor Graham
all rights reserved

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Check out Conor’s video for Slowdive performing When the Sun Hits



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